My Last Class

I am about to go into the very last class of my first year at Queen’s University.

Time has never passed as quickly as it has this year, especially this March and April. Fast than summer break, faster than exchange, faster than vacation. You know how time flies when you’re having fun? Apparently it surpasses the speed of light when you’re having a mental breakdown. That’s basically what this year has been for me. A complete breakdown and reassembly of how I think about myself, my education, and my relationships. I’ve learned a lot about myself that I wish I didn’t know. I’ve learned that it’s hard to make all the right moves in a long-distance relationship, that I’m not so great with handling others’ illnesses, and that I have some serious self-esteem issues that I didn’t know I had. I’ve learned what a panic attack really feels like. I’ve learned that I don’t like panic attacks.

But! I’ve also learned that even if I don’t make the right move, I can still fix things, especially with the help of loved ones. I’ve learned that other people do not have to define my life and how I operate through it . I’ve learned that I have an entire lifetime to work on myself and develop into the person I truly want to be. I’ve learned that I thrive under pressure and that I have way more umph! in me than I ever imagined or wished for. Most importantly, I’ve learned that, no matter how low I feel, no matter how many crappy choices I make, there are people in my life who will push me to go further, challenge me to do better, and support me through all of it. People like T.A.’s who see that I have potential, my parents who have always been there for me, my partner who encourages me like no one else, and even myself.

Coming up to the final exams of my first year of university is the first time in my life that I’ve looked in the mirror and honestly been able to say “What the hell, Kenz? You can do better,” instead of “You should be able to do better.” And for the first time in my life, I can respond (yes, I respond to myself) with “Wait a sec. Yea, I can do better than this,” instead of “I wish I knew how,” or “I wish I had it in me.” I can’t thank my family, my partner, and my new friends enough for helping me with this incredible personal growth that I didn’t know was possible.

It’s up to me to keep the cycle of positive reinforcement going. The joy of university for me is that the harder I try, the better my marks are. That’s just not something that happened for me in high school. I was aiming for university when they wanted cookie cutter, and you don’t get marks in high school for doing more than what your teacher asks for. Every week, especially at the end of the year when all the marks start flooding in, I realize that high school was a tiny, insignificant blip on my radar, a mere stepping stone to getting where I need to be right now.

Alright, enough philosophizing. I’ve learned a lot about applying for a major lately. At the beginning of the year, I was terrified that I just wouldn’t be capable of getting the grades to major in Psychology. It’s the most competitive major to get into in the Arts and Sciences at Queen’s. Now that we’ve reached the end of the year, despite all of my panicking, it turns out that a Psych major may very well be in my cards after all. (To all my lovely family members reading this, I know you were never worried, but I honestly was for a while.) As it currently stands, I need higher than a 70% on my final exam to get into Psychology, which is definitely doable. I’m feeling very confident (knock on wood) because the topics we’ve worked on this semester (personality, emotions, social life, development, etc.) are all things I’m absolutely fascinated by, so I’ve really soaked it all in. Wish me luck!

So, time for my last class … I wish it was one I liked. :P After this, I’m off to the library for more studying and final essay writing. As of this moment, there are 12 days, 21 hours, and 30 minutes until I am home at last, and dropping into unconsciousness in my proper-sized bed for a month. This will likely be my last communication until I become conscious again.

Let me know how your first year went or anything important you learned this year in the comments. I love to hear these things. Thanks for sticking with me through my first year, folks!

Kenzie

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Spring, Studying, and Summer Plans…

Hey folks!

As of Wednesday, it is officially spring! Don’t get me wrong, I love school, but I am unbelievably excited for the beginning of summer. First year has been excellent. But let’s be honest, I still have another crazy round of exams to go through. Luckily for me, I only have three final exams and one final essay this semester. And (I’m not sure if I’m happy about this yet) they’re all pretty close together. So, while my studying will turn me into crazy-eyed-haven’t-showered-in-a-week Kenzie, I’ll be done my exams really quickly and chilling out at home before I know it! I’m not too sure when the packing part is going to get done though!

I’ve been spending insane amounts of time in the library lately. I’m just finishing up with a 6 hour stint, and it’s the shortest one all week. I have a new style of studying for Psychology (hopefully one that will work a little better than last semester), and it’s been taking up a bunch of time. I just finished a long English paper, and I’ve got to get started on a longer Religion paper soon so I have time to study for Psychology! It’s going to be a crazy busy few weeks for me, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to get through it alive.

boots-and-hearts-logoMy summer plans this year are so exciting that I just have to mention some of them. Firstly, I have to paint my new house some weekend this summer! Not that you care, but it’s going to be an awesome green colour! Next, my amazing boyfriend bought both of us tickets at Christmas to go to the Boot and Hearts Country Festival this summer! I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this. Names like Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, The Band Perry, Dean Brody, Chad Brownless, and Jason Blaine will all be there! Needless to say, I’m dying of excitement (only 132 days until the gates open!). Finally, (can you tell I was spoiled this Christmas?) my parents have surprised my brother and I with a Caribbean cruise. After my first year of university, and all the other personal crap that came with it, I am pretty freaking excited for this chance to chill out and do nothing but tan, swim, and read. Duh.

Oh, and also, I’m just about to finish Pride and Prejudice for my English course. It’s awesome to read something I’ve read before in a university course. Realizing all the different things that I completely missed out on is sooooo enlightening. Maybe I’ll minor in English?

That’s it for today, folks! See you soon,
Kenzie

Are Women Taking Over University?

This is the first of three blog posts I’ll be writing for my Gender Studies class. It’s a group blog, so if you’d like to see my group members’ posts and comments as well, you can find them at http://genderstudies125.wordpress.com :) We would love to hear your opinions!

Kenzie

GenderStudies

According to Statistics Canada, the ratio of men to women in Canadian universities has changed drastically in the last 40 years. In 1971, just under 70% of graduates were male. In 2006, women now hold the majority at 60%. So, what is the cause of this significant change? Is it over-compensation? A change in the way females are viewed in education? Are boys being pushed in a different direction? Or is it a combination of many things?

While it has always been clear to me that the ‘real world’ of business is highly androcentric, I have always associated the world of education and teaching with women. There are far more female teachers than male teachers in primary schools in Canada and while it is not as distinct, more female teachers in high schools as well. My own primary schools’ teaching staffs are currently 84% and 90% female, my high school’s…

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Learning Experiences

Hey there, stranger!

As you may know, I began this blog to record my experiences as a university students. So take the last four and a half months of complete inactivity on this blog as a sign of what university life is like: keepgoingdontstophurryup.

That pretty much sums it all up.

First semester was certainly a learning experience for me. I have figured out:

  • how lectures work (go to them)
  • what a TA can do for you (highly dependent on their accent)
  • what meal plan to get (not the one I’m on)
  • the best places to study (anywhere that’s not residence)
  • and when to start studying for exams (way before whenever you actually started…even if that was October)
  • Oh! And I learned school stuff too. Really.

The main thing to take away from first semester was that I survived. And that I only have to do it seven more times before I can graduate! All in all, I’m just glad to say that 2012 is over. The entire year was, like I said, a learning experience, and an effective one at that…but not one I’d like to go through again. Getting into 2013, I’m feeling a lot more prepared and optimistic for what’s coming in second semester and in the next few years of university.

So, “What is coming in second semester??” you might ask, with unbridled excitement. Well, it’s been really exciting so far, actually! I’ve started a new course called Gender Studies (but I’m calling it Minority Studies in my head because that seems more appropriate). The lectures are fascinating. I honestly just want to bring a bag of popcorn to this enlightening two hour event I get to go to every week. So far, we’ve watched Ellen and analyzed Tinkerbell in class and been given a chance to choose what we would like to learn this semester. On top of that, my Sociology professor analyzed two hockey games and an entire episode of Big Bang Theory today. I now know why Sheldon is funny. …And with the semester starting off this well, I have lots of plans for the rest of it.

I once read that you’re not supposed to tell people what your goals and resolutions are because the satisfaction you get from saying you’re going to do it and other people congratulating you makes you feel like you’ve already done your job. So I’m not going to tell you what my goals are! But I will tell you what’s on the menu in the next month or so:

  • find and lease a house in Kingston for myself and three of my friends from residence
  • keep chugging along in my English, Psychology, Religion, and Sociology courses
  • start my new fascinating course on Gender Studies (I have to blog for that course, so I’ll be posting links!)
  • keep posting on my blog??

I do apologize for not making time to blog. Now that I’ve got the hang of this “university” thing, I’m hoping to make time to write more for you guys!

Talk soon!

Kenzie

What Are You Bringing To Res?

Hey all :)

I feel like I haven’t written anything in forever. Things are getting pretty busy around here. My family has been preparing to go to the cottage for a week (26 people in one building requires a lot of preparation), as well as helping me prepare for moving to Kingston the week after we get back. I can’t believe I’ll be living in my own place (kinda) in 15 days! My brain is going to explode with emotions…excited to be on my own; dying to start classes; terrified to leave my man; unenthusiastic about my room; agog about my courses; and concerned about how much sarcasm I use (and if this particular habit will interfere with me ever making friends again).

In light of all this crazy preparation, I’ve been wondering…how are all my peers planning on making their new dorm rooms home? I’ve looked up many versions of the “Ultimate Shopping List for University Dorms” and from them created my own ultimate list of things I think will make my dorm feel a little more like home (even if I don’t end up getting everything). I’m not including things I would already own like clothes, books, pictures, knickknacks, etc..

  • New curtain for window
  • Bed set with lots of pillows
  • Bed risers ✔
  • Under-bed storage
  • Closet organizer
  • Box storage ✔
  • Adhesive wall hooks
  • Mini-vacuum
  • Bar fridge ✔
  • Kettle
  • Plates, bowls, cups, mugs, cutlery
  • Shower caddy
  • Towels
  • Shower curtain
  • Closet hangers ✔
  • Over-the-door mirror
  • Printer ✔
  • Paper shredder ✔
  • Power bar
  • A couple of plants ✔
  • Memory card for camera
  • Batteries!
  • First-aid kit
  • Tool kit ✔
  • Book ends!
  • Binders ✔
  • Paper ✔
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters, etc.

I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. But I’m sure I’ll think of a few more things once I get settled in!

How about you? Is there anything you don’t think you’ll be able to live without in your new home?  Anything people keep suggesting to you that just doesn’t seem to make sense? I keep seeing “glue, scissors, and pencil crayons.” I didn’t know university required elementary school tools! :P If you’re still looking for a good pre-university shopping list, Walmart’s very extensive one is here and Bed, Bath, & Beyond’s more reasonable one is here. Go through these lists for ideas, but you know you best. If you don’t think you’re going to need a thousand pieces of Tupperware, a kettle, or the funkiest lamp available, don’t let Walmart up-sell you!

Alright, I’m off to the cottage folks! I tend to read a lot at the cottage (I know, doesn’t sound like me at all), so I’ll get another book review out when I return. Probably. Maybe. I hope so.

See you later, lovely readers :)

Kenz

Residence and Results

Happy Monday readers :)

Before I tell you what residence I’m in, I’d like to say that I thought the Universe would be quite forgiving in this particular lottery. Usually I’m quite picky about what I want. But when it came to residences, I would have been happy with most of them. “My only stipulations,” I told the universe, “are that I would really like a single room, and it needs to be on main campus, preferably but not necessarily, in a co-ed residence.” Now that’s a pretty easy to please request, I think. All but one residence are on main campus, all but two residences are co-ed, and there’s a surprisingly large percentage of single rooms at Queen’s. Should be easy! Soooo…

Single room? Check. :)

Co-ed residence? Check. :)

On main campus? ….%$@&!@?&!!!!!

Seriously?! The single residence I didn’t want to be in is the one I end up with? You suck this week, Universe. This isn’t just blind displeasure though: I have logical reasons as to why I want to be on main campus and not in Jean Royce Hall. Being away from the action is 50% of it. I’m an introvert (thus the blog) but I wanted to challenge myself as I started university to be more social, more out-going and way more involved in my school community. If you’re an extravert, you may not understand why it’s a challenge at all, and if you’re an introvert, you may think I’m crazy, but it’s something that’s very important to me.

The other 50% is that I also know my limits. While I do want to challenge my current levels of social participation, I also know that if I challenge my severe tendencies to procrastinate…I will fail…miserably. If I’m not 4 minutes from the gym, I won’t go for a run. If I’m not 4 minutes from the library, I won’t go research…not in -20 degrees anyway. Logical reasons. Apparently I can apply for a room on main campus though, after September 10. We shall see!

So, how stressed are you about your first year? The results are in!

  • Almost half of you felt like high school hasn’t really prepared you for university, but only one poor guy or girl felt completely unprepared.
  • A third of you were worried most about the course loads and another third was worried about being on your own for the first time.
  • Most of you know a pretty decent amount of information about your new school, courses, teachers, and town. 8% of you knew the name of the school and that you got in, and 10% of you knew everything there is to know.
  • Nobody suggested that their school gave them no or even little/poor information. Everyone felt their school was at least pretty good.
  • And finally, for the question regarding the Queen’s Common Reading Program, 41% liked the idea but wanted a better book and 23% just love the idea.

That’s it for today, folks. If there’s anything you’d like to hear about from me, or any thoughts you may have on today’s post, let me know in the comments!

Kenz

Stress, Panic, and Worry: A Survey

Happy Friday, folks!

Today isn’t focussing on my own experiences so much as everyone else’s. I’ve talked to a couple people on their experiences before they started their first year at university. I asked them what they were most worried about before they started university and the conversations went from there.  There are quite a few things I’ve been told so far, most of which hasn’t been too surprising.

But before I share that with you, what I would love to know is how you’re feeling about university right now. Any worries or concerns? Or are you cool as a cucumber? Answer the four or five polls beneath and I’ll let you all know what the results are in a future post. If you have any other thoughts you’d like to share, or you’ve thought of an important question I didn’t ask, let me know in the comments.

Thanks for the feedback everyone! It’s much appreciated. Like I said, I’ll be posting the results soon. And just a reminder, if you’d like to follow my blog via email, there’s a link at the bottom left of each page.

Enjoy your weekend!

Kenz